March 29, 2010

Pechanga muffins in The Simpsons

Sunday's episode of The Simpsons (airdate: 3/28/10) featured yet another reference to Indians. Here's the story:

The Greatest Story Ever D'ohedNed Flanders invites the Simpson family to join him a church retreat to Jerusalem. Homer is unappreciative of the culture, until a tour guide starts taking him around the city and Homer deludes himself into thinking he is the Messiah.When the Americans arrive in Jerusalem, Homer convinces them that a breakfast buffet is more interesting than the city's sights. The following exchange occurs:MRS. LOVEJOY:  These blueberry muffins are bigger than the ones we had at Pechanga.

REV. LOVEJOY:  Finally, something you like better than Pechanga.
Comment:  As long-time readers know, I work for a Pechanga Indian on the website.

This is a minor reference, to be sure, but it's notable for several reasons:

  • Following Hopi Project in The Simpsons and Koyaanis-Scratchy in The Simpsons, it's the third Native reference in three weeks. This may be a record for a network entertainment series with no regular Indian characters or storylines.

  • It's the fourth Simpsons reference to Indians this season, which isn't a record but is pretty good.

  • This makes three nonstereotypical references in a row: no chiefs, teepees, or other Plains stereotypes.

  • This also makes three references in a row to tribes other than the usual ones: Lakota, Cherokee, Navajo, or Apache.

  • It's a rare instance of a real tribe's being mentioned by name. It's all the more unusual because the tribe is one of two or three dozen in Southern California. I can't recall any instances of a network entertainment series naming a tribe south of the Chumash in Ventura County.

  • It's possibly the first mention of Pechanga in any network entertainment series.

  • It's a reference to a gaming tribe without some snide or stereotypical comment about Indian casinos.

  • Clearly someone on the staff is trying to include Native references in The Simpsons this year. Let's hope it continues.

    For more on the subject, see Indians in The Simpsons.

    1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    Just watched it on Hulu. I laughed.

    J. Nightwalker